Once a year, women finally get a day that is fully dedicated to them. On today, March 8th, we celebrate women all across the world, and their achievements, strength, and power to succeed in society.
Although there are many different women who have greatly impacted how far women have come, I thought I would include nine specific women in media, that have influenced societal views, and have allowed women to fight for what they rightfully deserve.
- Tarana Burke
Tarana Burke, 46, is an activist, best known for her #MeToo movement. She started the Me Too group in 2006, to bring awareness to sexual abuse/harassment within society. She’s worked with many sexual assault survivors, and in 2003, she even created “Just Be”: a program to work with young black women on creating a voice of their own. Although her “Me Too” slogan didn’t gain traction until years later, in 2017, after the Harvey Weinstein allegations first surfaced, people began to use #MeToo all over Twitter. This hashtag was to bring solidarity and support to these brave women coming forward, and confessing to have been raped/sexually harassed. Burke created history, and it’s certainly one for the books.
2. Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish rose to fame when she was just 14, with her first single, “Ocean Eyes”. Since then, Eilish has developed a voice of her own. She’s well known for her baggy clothes, which she explains is a personal choice. Nowadays, body shaming is very common, and according to an article by Elite Daily, Eilish wanted to “prevent people from sexualizing her body”. Aside from her attire, she’s recently become known for winning five Grammy Awards: Four of which are from major categories. She’s also the youngest female artist to have won Record Of The Year, for her hit single, “Bad Guy”. Winning this award has proven to young, aspiring creators that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. Age is but a number in the industry, and Billie Eilish is living proof of that.
3. Serena Williams
Serena Williams is best known for her ability to conquer the tennis court. Williams started playing when she was just three years old, and then went on to win her first U.S Open in 1999. She has become the first tennis player to win a total of 23 Grand Slam Singles Titles, and in 2012, a documentary (Venus and Serena) was released, that focused on the lives of Serena and her sister, Venus Williams. She’s received a lot of backlash in the past for her “manly” appearance, and although words hurt, in 2018, during an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, she stated that, “I can show Olympia [her daughter] that I struggled, but now I’m happy with who I am and what I am and what I look like.” Recently, The Undefeated posted an update, in which they state that, “Williams is getting ready to play in the French Open tournament — her first Grand Slam tennis tournament since winning the 2017 Australian Open 16 months ago”. Her motivation and drive makes Williams one of the most influential women in athletic history.
4. Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi is the first female politician to uphold the title of: Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. She is also the highest ranked female government official in US history. Pelosi has been very outspoken about her goals to create more jobs for the American middle class. Recently, Pelosi made headlines in early February, after she held her hand out for Donald Trump to shake, at the State of the Union address. Trump simply looked at her hand and turned away. So, when it came time for Pelosi to read her speech, introducing the president, she stood behind Trump, and held the speech up, as she ripped it in half. Pelosi showcased that women shouldn’t have to take any disrespect, even if it is from the President of the United States.
5. Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow is an American producer, director, and screenwriter. She began with short films in college, before collaborating with ex-husband and well known actor, James Cameron, on a 1995 film called Strange Days. While that film didn’t peak in the industry, her 2008 film, The Hurt Locker, made history. Because of that film, Bigelow went on to be the first woman in history, to win a BAFTA award, as well as an Oscar, for Best Director. She paved the way for many of the astounding female filmmakers that exist in today’s Hollywood industry.
6. Rita Moreno
I think I can speak for all of us, when I say that Rita Moreno is an icon. Most recently, she’s acted in Netflix’s remake of the 1975 show, One Day At A Time. Moreno plays the ever so hilarious Cuban grandmother: Lydia. However, Moreno might have looked familiar from before the show, and that’s because she also played the role of Anita in the 1961 critically acclaimed drama, West Side Story. After the film, Moreno went on to be the first hispanic woman in history to have won four of these prestigious awards: An Emmy, an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Tony. Moreno is still going strong, as she will be featured in the West Side Story film remake, as well as season two of One Day at A Time, on PopTV.
7. The U.S Women’s National Soccer Team
Back in July of 2019, the United States Women’s National Soccer Team won the World Cup, making it the fourth world cup that they’ve ever won. They not only proved that they were unstoppable, but they also proved that they were worth so much more than what they were getting credit for. They’ve become solid advocates for the gender pay gap, and after winning, brought attention to the media about wanting equal pay at the very least. According to an article by Vox in 2019, “Women players earn a base salary of $3,600 per game while men earn $5,000. Women who play on the world stage — like in the World Cup — get a $15,000 bonus; male soccer players earn a bonus of $55,000.” Well, they weren’t going to stand for that, which is why they decided to sue for gender discrimination. As of today, although they have obtained equal pay for certain matches, they’re still continuing to fight for equal payment in the next World Cup.
8. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift has always been a female icon for young women everywhere. While it’s true that she gets a lot of backlash for how many men she’s dated, if that’s the only negative thing that people can say about her, then she should be proud of herself. In 2018, Swift came forward in an Instagram post, where she stated that well known talent manager, Scooter Braun, bought Swift’s song rights. Therefore, she wasn’t allowed to perform any of her old songs that she had written, before signing to Big Machine Records (formerly owned by Scott Borchetta), and she asked her followers to help bring awareness to this situation. Eventually, she won, and at the 2019 AMA’s, she performed songs like “Love Story” and “IKYWT”, to “Blank Space” and “Lover”. She also released her music video for “The Man” several weeks ago, and not only was it incredibly powerful, but it also showed that while women still have a long way to go, their voices are heard. Taylor Swift is there to serve as a role model for her young, female fans everywhere.
9. Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald was a world renowned jazz singer, and known famously as the “First Lady of Song.” She found solstice in singing with the Chick Webb orchestra in the 1930’s, and continued to do so after Webb’s death in 1939. However, in 1942, Fitzgerald ultimately made the decision to go solo, and released records, such as: “Dream A Little Dream of Me”, “It Don’t Mean A Thing”, and “Cheek to Cheek”. She was the first black woman in history that would go on to win 13 Grammy awards. After her death in 1996, her musical records were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Fitzgerald was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her trademark and imprint on swing, jazz, and music in general. She had very unique vocals, and her determination to showcase her passion continues to be an inspiration for many aspiring female singers today.
10. Ellen Degeneres
While everyone currently knows Ellen DeGeneres as the well known host of her daytime talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, life hasn’t always been easy for the host. DeGeneres made LGBTQ+ history, when she openly came out as gay on her 1990’s ABC television sitcom, “Ellen.” This show marked the first time in history, that a leading character on a show was gay. Due to backlash, criticism and a downward spiral in ratings, “Ellen” was cancelled not long after. In 2003, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” was launched, and in 2008, she made the decision to marry her girlfriend, Portia De Rossi. DeGeneres has fought long and hard for LGBTQ+ rights, and she’s considered to be one of the most influential LGBTQ+ female icons to this date.